Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/55

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THE INBORN TALENT

common. It is not the material but the instinct to use it in the right way that makes the Inborn Talent. It is quite a common experience to have men come for advice who have spent years in queer, out-of-the-way corners of the earth and have had adventures rich in thrills and shudders, such as would make Robinson Crusoe or Treasure Island sound a little tame; and almost invariably what they say is this: "We have the material. Teach us the technique!" Yet in the majority of cases even a knowledge of technique would probably not make stories that they would write sound otherwise than commonplace. For it is one of the commonest things in the world to find that men can live adventurous lives without being really aware of it in a big dramatic sense that they can pass through places of great danger, inimitable strangeness, matchless beauty; and yet when they come to write them

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